Online Education Specialist Degree


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An online education specialist degree program is a popular choice for educators with a master’s degree who wish to continue their education but are not interested in a doctorate program.

This post-master’s degree falls in between a master’s degree and a doctorate degree and is usually awarded after the sixth year of collegiate study. Students in the program can gain additional expertise in their chosen field, and often go on to become instructional coordinators, principals, superintendents and other kinds of administrative leaders within school systems.

The education specialist degree is considered a terminal degree. However, most doctorate programs will accept some transfer credits from an education specialist degree program if an individual decides he or she would like to pursue a doctorate degree.

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Course Work

Potential specializations
Curriculum and instruction
Reading and language
Instructional technology
Educational leadership and administration
Special education

Students in an education specialist degree program must choose a specialization such as educational policy studies, educational leadership and administration, or instructional technology. An educator pursuing an instructional technology specialization may take courses on integrating technology into teaching practice, while an educator pursuing an educational policy studies specialization may take classes on research, measurements and the social foundations of education.

An education specialist degree generally cannot be completed entirely online as most programs require students to have field experiences in the classroom.

To be accepted into a program, students typically need a master’s degree in education and several years of teaching experience.

Job Outlook

Median salaries*
Postsecondary instructor $47,000
Instructional coordinator $50,000
Education administrator, elementary and secondary school $65,000
Assistant principal $67,000
High school principal $89,000
School superintendent $116,000


Aspiring principals and postsecondary teachers can look forward to job growth in their fields. Employment of elementary, middle and high school principals is expected to grow about 10 percent by 2020, while employment of postsecondary teachers is expected to increase 17 percent by the same year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Median salaries range from about $47,000 for a postsecondary instructor to about $89,000 for a high school principal, according to PayScale, an online salary database. Educators who use their degree to land high-level administrative positions earn even higher salaries. School superintendents, for example, can make more than $116,000 annually.

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